I am not a medical professional. My story is anecdotal and does not reflect what any one else may experience.
One week ago, I got my long awaited hysterectomy. After months and months of pain from my Late Onset Endometrial Ablation Failure and then months of researching and preparing my self mentally and physically for the surgery, the day had finally come. I had to be at the hospital at 5:30am. This meant that I had to be up at 4am, showered and packed, and ready for the 40 minute drive to the hospital with my husband. I got there early, as I tend to do, and went through registration fairly quickly, then was told I had to wait until 5:30 to go to the correct floor. Once there, we were registered again and told what to expect, more from my husbands end of things…when they would call him and their system of notifying people in the cafeteria on a large screen.
We were finally taken back to a large room with several beds and curtains for privacy. I was curtly told by the nurse who showed me in to pee in a cup to check for pregnancy, wipe myself down with antibacterial wipes, change into the gown and socks provided and cover up when finished. The instructions were quick and I was tired and hungry, so as I got myself ready, I worried I had forgotten to do something. After getting ready, I laid down and waited while my husband and I listened to other patients getting ready for their surgeries. After what seemed like a long time, a nurse came in to take my vitals, tell me I wasn’t pregnant, and get me set up. I had to get more blood work (which I think was redundant, and even the one drawing the blood said they were just following orders, as I had just gotten blood work done the Friday before) and an IV put in. The anesthesiologist came in and went over a few things, and then my doctor came in and we talked for a few minutes. I asked her how long the actual procedure would take, as my husband wanted to go home to take a nap, and she said about 45 minutes.
As soon as the room was ready, they wheeled me back and my anesthesiologist came in and asked if I was ready for my first martini. As he injected something into my IV, I remember laughing. That was the last I remembered.
I woke up with two nurses chatting and giggling over me. I wanted to stay asleep, but I remembered I had been hungry, too. I asked them if I was done, and they said I was. I must have asked about food, because I remember them telling me all my food options once I got moved to recovery. I closed my eyes and then awoke in the recovery area, which was the same area I had been in before the surgery. My new nurse brought me some crackers, which I couldn’t stomach at first, but then he said if I wanted more pain pills, I had to eat, so I asked for some applesauce and ate that and got my pain pills. Quicker than I had expected, I was up, going to the bathroom, and getting dressed. The next thing I knew, I was being wheeled down to the car and heading home. I arrived home around noon.
Except for a setback with the pharmacy getting my prescription filled, everything went wonderful. I even took a few pictures of my incisions:
My youngest daughter came and took care of me until Saturday, cleaning and making sure I didn’t strain myself with anything. It was nice and peaceful, and I enjoyed spending time with her. Most of my days were spent sleeping or watching Gilmore Girls. I created a chart that I used to keep track of my medicines, exercise, and water intake, which ended up helping me when I would forget what time I was due for something. I allowed myself 5 minutes of walking time every day to help build up strength and make sure I didn’t get blood clots, which I tried to do outside. These tired me out quickly, so I always napped when I could. I made sure to keep up with my pain management as accurately as I could.
Originally, I had planned my two weeks off to be full of reading and catching up on tv shows, but I found I had no focus and was too tired to even hold my book, especially when I was still on the pain meds. I am officially off of the pain meds, but I am still feeling tired and weak after a couple of hours. My oldest daughter and grand daughter came to visit and I felt so bad when I got really tired not long after they got here.
Today is my first day home alone and not on pain meds. Part of me wants to accomplish stuff, but the other part wants to stay in bed all day. At least writing this post will make me feel like I did something! Here are some surprises from my experience:
- I didn’t bleed like I thought I would. Many of the things I had read said there would be some vaginal bleeding, but I barely spotted at all. It was a pleasant surprise.
- My incisions are so small. I knew with laparoscopic surgery, the incisions would be small, but I thought there would be more and that they would be a bit larger.
- Peeing the first day hurts! I had a catheter in during the surgery, and I didn’t know that peeing would hurt for several hours the first day because of it. Also, the amount I peed…I am sure it was from the IV, but I had to go every hour for a long time the first few days. I was happy not to be dehydrated though.
- It can take 4-5 days for a bowel movement. I was worried something was wrong when nothing happened after 3 days, but then I found out that it was normal and once I went, I felt so much better.
- Swelling…I had almost no swelling. I was expecting my stomach to be swollen, especially right away, but I had almost no swelling. I couldn’t wear my rings because of a bit of swelling, but nothing like what I was expecting.
- I was also expecting the dreaded shoulder pain from gas, but I didn’t have that either. I had a bit of tightness in my shoulder on the second day, but overall, no gas pains at all. I did find myself burping a lot, maybe that helped release it.
This Thursday is my post op appointment. I am going to try to drive myself there and see how I feel. My plan is to go back to work next Tuesday, so I need to feel like I won’t be exhausted after driving. I plan on limiting my movement while also building strength. I am going to find out how much I can life at my appointment and maybe I can start lifting some small weights to help keep my muscle tone up. I don’t plan on doing anything without my doctor’s approval. I feel like I have been healing well due to my preparedness and the strength I built up before hand.
This was lengthy, but thanks for letting me journal my experience. I know that other’s have worse experiences, and honestly I had read about so many bad experiences that I wanted to be prepared for anything, but I hope that hearing my experience will help alleviate some fears and show you that there are positive aspects as well. I am looking forward to not having the pain that I thought I would have for several more years.